At 00:21 Prague local time at night, Barack Obama called Czech PM Mr Jan Fischer in the pajamas to his cell phone. ;-)
He told him that the American plans to build the radar in the Czech Brdy hills (and probably also the interceptors in Poland, although this second part remains unconfirmed) will soon be either scrapped or at least delayed to 2015 or later.
Obama also called Polish PM Donald Tusk but the latter didn't know how to use the telephone so there was no conversation.
Wall Street Journal, AP, The Telegraph, Google News (click)It's officially argued that the Iranian missile abilities were just found to be less advanced than previously thought. Clearly, it's not the main reason.
L.M. with two Greenpeace protesters who lived on the trees right above the planned radar location (Google Maps) and who eat environmentally friendly roots, insect, excrements, and dirt.
Whether or not the system would be genuinely useful, it's clear that these canceled plans will diminish and cool the ties between the New Europe and the United States. On the other hand, Russia, the communist farmers who live around the radar site, and the Russia-funded protest NGOs may get less nervous.
The most immoral and repulsive Czech politician, socialist leader Mr Jiří Paroubek who changed his opinions by 180 degrees yesterday and killed all the plans for early elections (we will probably have the June 2010 elections as previously thought), welcomes the dovish U.S. decision, too. He says that it is a "victory of the people". The communists' reaction was identical.
A poll at idnes.cz shows that 60% of the Czech people disagree with Obama's plans to scrap the project; polls that included mostly uneducated people usually ended with the opposite result. The ex-PM and center-right ODS chief, Mr Mirek Topolánek, thinks that America has thrown Europe over the board. It's another sign that America which has been an ally for two decades doesn't care about our region. That brings a certain threat to us, Topolánek said.
Ms Vlasta Parkánová, a former defense minister who sang the song "Welcome Mr Radar", is convinced that the project will be revived in the future. Ex-president Václav Havel and others feel "let down".
The Polish opposition blames Tusk's reluctance to sign the treaty quickly for the "disappointing" decision that shows that the "United States are not a reliable ally". Poland - which "celebrates" the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion to Eastern Poland today - will have to spend more time with negotitations with Russia. To summarize, Eastern Europe feels no love from Obama. The AP has quoted an expert who has calculated that Obama's approach to world's pressing problems is less valuable than a moldy onion. ;-)
The idea of an unwelcome Russian influence over Central Europe still seems rather distant to me, although many Russians are clearly thinking about it. (The current Russian influence in Czechia is limited, and in many contexts positive.) However, such threats may become less academic in the future.
On the other hand, even during the previous U.S. administration, I thought that countries like Ukraine and Georgia shouldn't think that they were "strategically" independent of Russia. The new Obama's dovish attitude should lead all realistic people in the former Soviet Union to forget about any hopes of being "quite independent" from Russia. People, be sensible. There's no one over there who could and would like to protect your "absolute independence" from Russia.
It says: "We are alive and we are the warriors." Via FoxNews.
Iranian and North Korean plans to become a real threat for the U.S. and others will also get re-energized. The U.S. authorities now claim that regional defense systems are more important and they would move some possible interceptors from Poland to the Balkans, Turkey, Israel, and warships.
I have certain serious difficulties to believe that it's better to place defensive missiles on moving warships rather than fixed and ideally chosen terrestrial sites. Warships might be better to optimize attacks, when you want to decide about their details, but when it is your enemy who decides, a moving location of the interceptors is a clear disadvantage because your enemy may improve his timing depending on the status of your warships.
The radar site and its neighborhood has become a favorite destination of our bike, hiking, and skiing trips.